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    Friday, September 2, 2016

    Smark Hen-XT (8/31/16): New Breed

    Two weeks after TakeOver: Brooklyn, NXT finally returned to Full Sail University for a new set of tapings, and with it, some fresh new faces and direction.

    Granted, a lot of this is rehashed. Historically speaking, this isn’t the first time NXT reintroduced guys (and gals) to their TV roster, nor is it the first time we’re having these kinds of matches. The main roster does this a lot, actually. You’ll notice RAW and SmackDown Live pretty much go to the well and redo a lot of stories, sometimes even with the same players. Tropes exist for a reason, but the problem with reusing tropes is the more you use them, the easier it becomes to notice them and call them out as lazy writing.

    This is where NXT’s unique nature as a transient brand helps with this. This wasn’t the first time we saw two young guns working their asses off to impress the crowd, but it was the first time we saw Kenneth Crawford and Steve Cutler on NXT together. It might not have been the best match, but it was a new one. Say what you want about NXT being a brand of its own, it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Everyone still wants to be on RAW or SmackDown, and people will still leave the brand for (arguably) greener pastures. Some of our favorites might leave, but there will always be new faces to take their place. With a revolving door of guys coming in and out of the show, tropes don’t look repetitive since there are new faces filling the roles.

    With a lot of big names from last year’s NXT having moved on to the main roster, it’s the new guys’ job to win us over, and I have to admit, I’m not that excited. Half the show was filled with really green talent, and it showed with a lot of sloppy and disjointed work. I’m not worried, though. NXT can make stars—just look at the Four Horsewomen. Here’s to hoping they can do the same to their current crop.


    The Rest of the Show:

    • Tye Dillinger def. Buddy Murphy: This was a pretty solid opener between two good workers. I love this mini-run for the newly-turned babyface Dillinger. I hope this leads to bigger things for the Perfect 10. Murphy is stuck in neutral right now, and I’m not sure he has what it takes to get out of a jobber role. That sucks for a guy who’s a former NXT Tag Team Champion.

    • The Revival beat up Tommaso Ciampa: Glad to see Ciampa getting some alone time. Johnny Gargano’s been getting the lion’s share of the spotlight for the past couple of weeks, but people forget that Ciampa is just as good at this pro wrestling thing. Seeing the Revival be their usual awesome/brutal selves is also fun. These two teams should really get another match.

    • Steve Cutler def. Kenneth Crawford: I think the wrong guy won. In the little offense he was given, Crawford managed to impress. Heck, he hit a beautiful standing shooting star press. Cutler comes off as a generic tough guy heel, which doesn’t really help him stand out. Still, we can’t really see how both guys’ careers will pan out with just one match under their belts.

    • No Way Jose def. Angelo Dawkins: And we’re back to dancing Jose. Not that I’m not a fan, I just hoped all that character development from his feud with Austin Aries actually stuck. Dawkins is the perfect example of someone without that “It” Factor. He’s had a couple of gimmicks, with none of them connecting to the crowd. It won’t be a surprise to see him get the pink slip before the year ends.

    • Liv Morgan def. Aliyah: Bad, Just bad. Which kind of sucks since I’ve seen them have good matches. Then again, most of those matches were with women who knew how to call a match. With only one or two veteran hands in the women’s division to guide them, Morgan, Aliyah, and the rest of the new members of the division will have a tough time developing.

    • Shinsuke Nakamura celebrates his title win: An in-ring promo in English from the newly crowned champ capped off the show. His English might need some work, but he got his point across. His charisma is more than enough to carry him over. Nothing new in terms of character building, though.


    A lot of growing pains for NXT this week, but it was to be expected. I’m hoping that the new guys can grow into their potential quickly, but it’s better to prepare yourself for a lot of sloppy matches in the near future. That being said, we still have guys like Nakamura and Samoa Joe who can carry the brand through these times. This episode gets a C+.

    Thoughts on NXT's new faces? Drop us a comment below!

    Photos from WWE.com


    Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT, smarkhenry.ph's weekly NXT review.
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Hen-XT (8/31/16): New Breed Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jocs Boncodin
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